Do silicone implant leak?

I was always told that silicone implants don't leak because they are gel , and would hold their shape after a rupture. Now i am seeing different things about how they can leak but that they just leak slowly?

Doctor Answers 8

Silicone implants

Silicone implants are cohesive/memory gel that do not leak into the breast pocket.  The gel material is a gelatin-like substance that does not pour or separate like a liquid.  If you cut a silicone implant in half, the silicone stays within the shell of the implant. 


Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Leaking Implants

Hello, 

Thank you for your question. 

A patient and their surgeon are less likely to notice the rupture of a silicone gel breast implants due to the gel being much thicker than saline and often remaining within the implant or leaking into scar tissue following rupture. Silicone ruptures become noticeable due to the breast changing size or becoming uneven, hard lumps appearing and changes in sensation (like tenderness, pain, swelling, burning, numbness or tingling) developing.
When these symptoms aren’t present it generally means the silicone gel hasn’t leaked outside of the implant. These cases are referred to as “silent ruptures” and are difficult to notice because the implant looks and feels almost completely normal. Most patients discover silent ruptures after their physician has conducted a physical examination or used an MRI scan to screen the breasts. These tests are recommended every few years because a ruptured silicone implant can leak gel that migrates to tissue in the arms, armpit or chest wall and becomes extremely difficult or impossible to properly remove.

All the best. 

Implant leakage

Hello, silicone implants can still break, but as you have mentioned the contents are cohesive gel that does not flow away.

Breast implants

Yes, unfortunately all implants will eventually leak or rupture. The newer implants have a more cohesive gel that does not leak out as much but implants will not last forever and do need to be exchanged eventually.

Mark Deutsch, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Do silicone implant leak?

Thank you for your question.  You may be reading different sources with some referring to the old generation implants which do "leak" and other sources referring to the current 5th generation implants that do not leak as they are made of a cohesive gel.  

Do Gel implants leak

 The newer fifth generation silicone gel implants are made of a highly cohesive silicone gel. If the shell of the implant is fractured or develops a small tear, this type of gel does not leak out of the confines of the implant unless the extrinsic pressure is placed. Once the pressure is released the gel would return to the space inside the shell. The older implants had a much more runny, liquid like silicone gel that could separate quite easily and therefore when broken the gel could leave the shell and surround the Peri-prosthetic space. Hope this is helpful ,good luck.

Marc J. Salzman, MD, FACS
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Gel Implants

The present generation of breast implants use a cohesive gel which binds to itself and is safe and does not leak like the earlyimplants.

Do silicone implant leak?

Thank you for your excellent question.  Previous generations of silicone implants were made with a thinner silicone gel that would leak from the surrounding capsule into the breast implant pocket itself.  Newer generation of silicone implants have a much thicker gel inside that does not leak and maintains itself within the capsule. These are termed the "highly cohesive" gel implants or "gummy bears."  Hope that this helps.

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.